Friday, September 22, 2006

Is it Really a "Shared Table" or Merely "Whistling Past the Graveyard"???

It will be VERY interesting to receive word of the meetings going on this month over denominational structure (under the facilitation of Dr. Trish Jones). Repeated reports claim 21 execs are on board for the "shared table," "common table," "Lancaster" proposal. One blogger, Baptistlikeme (, claims to have the most recent copy of the proposal, but is unwilling to post it for some secret (but he claims not nefarious) reasons.

I would be most interested to see how the execs would be willing to freeze out the AWAB supporting regions such as Evergreen, Rochester, TABCOM, etc. from the "shared table." IFF so, it would be a dramatic shift from traditional ABC culture which has always been unwilling to "hurt" or "marginalize" ANYone (other than traditionalists).

Perhaps some light can be shed on the issue by reference to a first hand account of a recent meeting with pastors in West Virginia. The Executive Minister reportedly encouraged them to see the "shared table" as the solution to our problems in the ABCUSA. As the pastor recounted:

However, as the meeting drew to a close it was apparent, to me at least, the direction that the leadership of the WVBC is going to move is towards the "Shared Table" concept (he stated that approx. 21 regions were showing interest in this concept). While I support this idea, as I currently understand it, as a re-organizational positive, I fail to see how it is going to directly impact the problem that we share as a national denomination. The question was asked directly to Dr. Carrico about how does this organizational change to a "Shared Table" impact the WABC situation and his response was that we would be aligned with like minded regions and that as far as the other regions were concerned we will still be ABC but they would not be welcome at our "Shared Table." He proceeded then to state that we must learn to get over this guilt by association attitude.

One of the interesting factors in the whole "shared table" concept, highlighted by the impressions from the WV meeting, is that in this dysfunctional family, apparently 21 EMs believe that they can solve the problem by looking the other way. "If we just whistle loud enough past the graveyard, maybe . . ."

How do they plan to exclude TABCOM, Rochester, Evergreen, et. al., from the fuller life of the ABC? Even if there are 21 votes for the "shared table," will the left-leaning GEC go along with a plan to subvert what so many in leadership believe to be a moral imperative of tolerance for diversity? And, how will this "shared table" function without wider GEC concurrence?

Even if a group of like-minded EMs is able to cobble together an informal alliance of traditional Christians in the ABC, how well continued participation in the ABCUSA satisfy the congregations unhappy with AWAB? Evidently, the answer from the EM cited is "we must learn to get over this guilt by association attitude." That sounds an awful lot like "If we just whistle loud enough past the graveyard, maybe . . ."

[His Barking Dog is home sick watching "24" on DVD. There is no truth to the rumor that Dr. Medley is really Jack Bauer. Ryan Chappel, maybe? As always, my disclaimer holds for this post as well.]

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